When I design a pattern, I try to offer four style variations. Sometimes I'll have ideas for more variations, but, for a number of reasons, I can't include them all in the pattern. When I was working on the Elodie Briefs I had more ideas for lace overlays, which will be used for a new pattern in the future, and I also had an idea for a strappy option that uses elastic along the sides instead of the side panels. The pattern was already long enough, so I decided to offer the instructions here as a pattern hack. I hope you enjoy.
I’ve already covered pattern alterations for adjusting the rise for a different torso length, which affects both the front and back rise length. But what do we do when the back rise length is good, and the front rise dips too low?
Problem: The back rise fits well, but the front rise dips too low
Christmas is almost here, and what a perfect time to use some of my luxurious and sparkly fabrics! Stretch panne velvet and gold stretch mesh are made up into a longline hack of my Iris Bralette pattern. This pattern hack is super easy, and creates such a pretty silhouette!
For the best fit on the Iris Bralette, you will want the vertical seam to fall in line with the apex.
What is the apex?
The apex is the fullest part of the bust, usually where the nipple lies. In the photo above, you can see that the vertical seam aligns with the fullest part of the bust, and also aligns with the vertical seam on the dress form.
Next up in my fitting and alteration series is changing the rise length. Wanting to change the rise length might be a personal preference, or it may be due to a difference in torso length. For this fitting/alteration exercise I'm going to assume that it is due to a different body shape than what the pattern was drafted for.
During the testing phase of the Hellebore Hi-Cut, one of my testers said she was surprised by how very high cut the legs were, and her pair seemed to be much higher than the pictures indicated. After a bit of conversation, we determined that her crotch length was 2" shorter than the length indicated for her size. Let's use this same fitting problem here:
Problem: The rise is too long, but waist and hip measurements are correct.
Next up in my panty fitting series is probably the most common problem I see; the back of the panty sliding into the bum and causing much discomfort. In American English we call it a wedgie. What causes it and how do we fix it? Let's take a look.
Problem: The back of the panty is sliding into my bum
Creating a test garment and fitting a pattern is pretty standard among sewists, because rarely do we fit into whatever standard measurements a designer uses. Ready-to-wear clothing is designed to fit a wide range of bodies, which is why it tends to have lots of ease and fabric that stretches whenever possible.
But what about undergarments? Something that is worn so closely against the body needs to be fitted carefully, and I haven't seen too many resources for fitting panties. So here I am with a short series of fitting problems you might encounter while fitting your undies.
Problem: The gusset is too wide
Yesterday I finished sewing my second Barrett Bralette, a free pattern from Madalynne. Before I share my newest project with you, I wanted to share my first Barrett Bralette and how I altered the pattern to fit me. It seems like this sort of bralette only works well on small cup sizes, so when this pattern was published I was anxious to see how it worked on women with small rib cages and larger cup sizes. On Instagram I saw Barrett Bralettes on a wide variety of figures, and realized I had two options for altering the pattern to work for me. For reference, my underbust measurement is 31.5" and my full bust measurement is 37". I usually wear a 32D in my handmade bras.
Options for altering the pattern:
1. Use a large cup size and pair it with a small band.
2. Use a small size appropriate to fit my underbust measurement and increase the projection.
I decided to go for #2, since most of my fullness is in the lower cup, and I prefer not to have a lot of fabric in the upper cup going towards my armpit.
According to the pattern directions my underbust measurement would have technically put me in an x-small, but I decided that would probably be too tight and cut a size small instead. At the apex (fullest part of the bust) I added 3/8"on both the center front and side cup pieces and gradually blended back to the size small. Why 3/8"? To be honest, it was just an educated guess and luckily it worked for me.
I cut my project from cotton/lycra jersey and lined it with stretch mesh. I planned to use this bralette as a sort of sports bra, but I don't do very vigorous exercise so a super supportive bra was not necessary for me.
One of the changes I decided to make was to use 1" elastic as both the straps and the entire back band. Why elastic only? Well, there's a story to tell and I'll get to that once I finish showing you my bralette.
I used the back band pattern piece as a guide and cut three lengths of elastic. I basted them to the edge of the side cups, then topstitched down the entire seam. To secure the straps to the back elastics, I sewed a zigzag box over all the crossing points.
I'm quite happy with the fit and feel that it gives me a good amount of support for a bralette. I think using a strechy-but-firm knit fabric really helps to provide support, and so does adding a mesh lining. I like to show the guts of my bra makes, even if they are a bit messy. Please excuse any wonky stitching.
Now.. why did I use so much 1" wide black elastic? Because I have lots of it. Lots and lots of it.
My husband spent all of 2016 stationed in South Korea, about 20 minutes from Seoul. He is a brave and adventurous type (and also has a degree in anthropology), so on his days off he'd hop on the subway, pick a random exit, and just explore the surrounding area. One day, he happened to stumble upon Dondaemun, Seoul's fabric market. Seven floors of fabric, trims, and commercial embroidery and sewing. He was amazed by all the vendors and wanted to get something for me.
At that time I was beginning my bra-making journey, so I sent him swatches of the plush back elastics and straps that I was looking for. While I am blessed to have a husband that is eager to do nice things for me, he doesn't quite have the eye to pick out things that match the samples I give him. He found a vendor selling this black elastic and thought he had hit the jackpot. The vendor did not speak English, but through a few Korean words and gestures, Aaron thought he communicated that he would like five yards of elastic. The man nodded and began unrolling the elastic and measuring. And measuring and measuring, and unrolling and unrolling. Aaron became alarmed when the pile of elastic grew bigger and bigger and quickly looked up the Korean word for five (daseos) and waved his five fingers. The man nodded his head and just kept measuring. Aaron's friend said "Dude... I think you're getting that whole roll." Sure enough, that is what happened. The man shoved all the elastic into a grocery bag and wrote up the bill... which, translated into American dollars was a grand total of $15. Hah! Quite a good deal.
While not plush back elastic, it is quite soft against the skin, and not overly firm like packaged elastic. So I am happy to use it in sports bras and waistbands.
I put my bralette on my form to check the strap placement and realized that with my latest pair of briefs (from the pattern I am developing, stay tuned!) I had inadvertently created a matching set.
Have you tried the Barrett bralette? What do you think of the fit?
Also, have you been to any of the amazing fabric markets around the world? Have you found any good fabric and trim deals?
I design lingerie sewing patterns for everyday comfort and feminine style in an inclusive size range. Fill up your underwear drawer with beautiful custom made panties in your favorite fabrics and trims, designed to fit your body.